Cappella Nova - Alpha & Omega -

...The highlight here is MacMillan's conducting of his own Missa Dunelmi, a compressed Mass (four movements lasting 20 minutes) that lies well within the vocal ranges of chorus members and hits the right notes both musically and emotionally...Other than the Mass, only Invocation has been recorded before: the six remaining pieces will be genuine discoveries for those interested in MacMillan and in modern religious music for chorus, since all are world premières on disc. St. Patrick's Magnificat, mihi..., Cum videsset Jesus, I am your Mother, Domine non secundum peccata nostra ('Lord, do not pay us in kind for our sins', best known in César Franck's setting), and Alpha & Omega are all heartfelt works, paeans to God or prayers of hope...with their frequent resemblance to plainchant effectively brought forth and Madeleine Mitchell's violin in Domine non secundum peccata nostra adding a particularly nice touch. MacMillan's works are determinedly old-fashioned and will be especially appealing to listeners interested in a modern composer's adaptation of forms that were already well-established in Bach's time.

22 January 2014